This technique, made famous by many great players but most notably Jerry Reed, is usually created by using a thumb pick and fingers, or the hybrid “pick and finger” style. It’s basically a “grabbing” type action of the open positions, hence the “claw” name.
Open A and D are the most effective positions, but you’ll see that these positions can be switched all over the neck when you want to. As a means of helping you understand this style, I will teach a cool tune of mine entitled “Let it Slide” that I recorded with the great Dobro player Jerry Douglas on my 1993 Nashville album, Toolin’ Around.
The rhythm guitar part of this piece has a distinctive “claw” approach that really illustrates some of the best of the physical as well as the melodic possibilities of this technique. Hope you enjoy!—Arlen Roth